In my opinion, traveling is one of life’s greatest privileges—the ability to transport in a matter of hours to a new city, state or country. Even if it’s for a purpose other than pleasure, traveling leads us to new experiences and opportunities; it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s adventurous and it’s energizing.
Alongside the awesomeness of traveling, however, there exists this looming anxiety for me (and maybe you) about getting knocked out of my routine and sometimes into another time zone. When I’m on beat and grooving to a healthy lifestyle, it’s hard to hop on a plane and know that I’ll have to work to get back in rhythm once I land. Fortunately, there are some things that I’ve found helpful, and even essential, for keeping up with a healthy lifestyle while being away from home!
Stay hydrated and fast during your flight.
Traveling via airplane dehydrates you because of the high pressure in the plane and altitude at which you’re flying. Not to forget, having a cup of caffeinated coffee or green tea on the plane puts a cherry on top of your dehydrated susceptibility. In order to start your travel off right, work on hydrating a little extra the day before travel so that you don’t wake up already a bit dehydrated before flying. Also, remember to pack an empty water-bottle in your suitcase to carry around with you and refill!
On the day of flying, make sure you wake up and immediately drink your first 8-12oz glass of water for the day (a glass of hot water with lemon in it is great too). Hydrate while you’re at the airport waiting in line, and use the restroom once you are by your gate before boarding to avoid the awkward experience of finding your seat on the plane and then having to get up—while people are still boarding and trying to navigate through the aisle—and ask the flight attendants to use the restroom before takeoff (speaking from a lot of experience…). While flying, avoid caffeine and ask for a glass of cold or hot water instead. I carry a package of decaf tea with me to enjoy (this also saves money because you aren’t spending $$ on a beverage). Hot water is good for digestion and keeps your gut engaged during the flight.
Speaking of your gut, fasting while flying (and hydrating) is the best thing you can do to avoid digestive issues that can come along with traveling. This saves your GI system from trying to digest things in a high-pressure environment (up in the air). Also, when you eat, your body uses the water that you’ve given it to help lubricate and move things through your digestive tract—so save that water solely for your state of hydration during the flight, and enjoy a meal or snack afterwards!
With dehydration comes dry skin. Even if you stay on top of your water game, I find it helpful to regularly moisturize throughout my travel. I bring a small pack of Spectrum Naturals Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil with me on trips (you can buy this or others like it at Whole Foods or on Amazon). I use coconut oil to remove resistant eye makeup (shout out to my new love for RMS Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes) and moisturize in the morning and night. I’ve found that it also keeps my skin clearer and provides a glow!
Wake up and go to bed around the same time that you usually do.
This excludes international travel, unless the time zone in another country is somewhat similar to or the same as yours at home.
If you’re traveling to California and 5am PT is your normal 7am CT, then plan on waking up at 5am and hitting the beach for a morning walk! Keeping your body in sync with your normal sleep routine will make your travel that much better. (Of course, if you are really having trouble getting out of bed and need to sleep another hour or two, then do so!) This way, when you get home, you won’t feel out of whack because your internal clock will still be on point. Wherever you’re traveling to—Google the time difference beforehand so you know what your internal clock might look like away from home!
Book a few workouts in advance and search for healthy restaurants.
Just because you are located somewhere else doesn’t mean that you have to live like someone else! When I am preparing to leave town, I try to envision my healthy lifestyle in the city that I’m visiting. I have so much fun looking up fun workout studios and classes in different cities and neighborhoods. I had the opportunity to take a SoulCycle class in both New York and Chicago this summer! I also took a Yoga class that was hip-hop inspired and completely candlelit (yes, it was sexy). Have fun searching online for eclectic workout studios in the city that you’re visiting—sometimes they have first time specials that offer you a free class! And if you have the luxury of being by the lake, ocean or mountains, get your booty outside (duh)!
When away from home, it can be hard to pinpoint the best places to grab healthy eats. This is where planning and an adventure-seeking mindset can benefit you big time. Look online for restaurants near the area that you’re staying that serve farm-to-table food or locally-sourced produce and meats. Take a look at the menus in advance! If you stumble into a fun spot while walking around, choose a vegetable dish or salad on the menu instead of an impromptu pizza—most places are willing to accommodate your needs (dressing on the side, nixing the cheese, etc.) When ordering a cocktail, opt for a glass of red wine, or choose a cocktail that has minimal ingredients and fresh citrus—possibly club soda based. Don’t forget to see if the city you are visiting has a farmer’s market that you can hit up…can’t miss out on those!
Remember these things, but…
When you’re on vacation, it’s so important to treat yourself and enjoy moments to the fullest. I am not advocating that you say no to the city’s famous chocolate chip cookie or chef’s famous lasagna. If you need extra sleep, sleep in, and if your body needs a break from exercise, then treat walking around town or along the beach as so! And, of course, if you are enjoying yourself and end up having 4-5 glasses of wine and staying out later than you envisioned, then live it up and enjoy every second. Overall, it’s just important to remember what you stand for and the kind of life that you want for yourself—how you want to feel and what makes you function at your best—and chase after those things whenever you can, wherever you can! You can be YOU no matter where you’re located.